U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran found sufficient merit in the negotiated debt-ceiling bill to join the bipartisan majority voting in favor, while U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall voted against the deal because it didn’t include funding to enhance security at the border with Mexico.
The Kansas Republicans split on the legislation sent to President Joe Biden after the U.S. Senate voted 63-36 to avoid a default on federal government debt.
In an earlier bipartisan vote, the U.S. House approved the bill 314-117. The Kansas delegation was divided with Kansas Reps. Jake LaTurner, Sharice Davids and Ron Estes supporting the package and Rep. Tracey Mann voting against it.
Moran, who has served in Washington since 1997, said he wouldn’t have introduced the bundle crafted by Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that put off dealing with federal debt limits until after the 2024 election. Moran acknowledged challenges of operating a divided government.
“However, no deal is not a solution, and defaulting on the national debt in no way benefits Kansans or Americans,” Moran said. “Defaulting on our debt would send a message to the world that we are a nation that cannot be trusted to pay our bills.”
The senator echoed Republicans and Democrats who said excessive spending was detrimental to the country’s national security and damaging to future generations of Americans. He said China would like to see the standing of the United States undermined by a default that lowered confidence in the dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency.
Moran said the legislation included conservative priorities such as slowing the rate of spending, clawing back COVID-19 relief funds, trimming budget increases at the IRS, imposing work mandates on recipients of food stamps and avoiding tax increases.
He said the debt-ceiling agreement delivered on a commitment to fully finance health services for U.S. military veterans exposed to toxins.
“The debate cannot end with this vote. Congress should not have to wait for a crisis or the debt ceiling to consider fiscally responsible measures,” Moran said.
Marshall, elected to the U.S. House in 2016 and the U.S. Senate in 2020, said he couldn’t vote for a bill that saddled future generations with trillions of dollars in additional federal debt.
“This bill misses the mark, and perhaps what’s more frustrating is that it does not give a single cent to securing our border,” he said. “Zero dollars to address the greatest, most immediate national security threat to our country.”
He said Congress needed to deal with illegal immigration and declared: “I will not sit here, form committees and pray about it. We need action today.”
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Story by Tim Carpenter / Kansas Reflector